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What is Microservices Architecture?

As the agile methodology and continuous improvement become the default for modern development teams, microservices have gained increasing popularity. Many complex businesses are moving away from rigid monolithic software to flexible microservice architecture. But, what are microservices? And how does microservice architecture add value to businesses? 

What is Microservices Architecture?

Microservices, often referred to as Microservices architecture, is an architectural approach that involves dividing large applications into smaller, functional units capable of functioning and communicating independently. This approach arose in response to the limitations of monolithic architecture. Because monoliths are large containers holding all software components of an application, they are severely limited: inflexible, unreliable, and often develop slowly. With microservices, however, each unit is independently deployable but can communicate with each other when necessary. Developers can now achieve the scalability, simplicity, and flexibility needed to create highly sophisticated software applications.

The value of Microservices

Because microservices are small, discrete application components linked together through lightweight, well-defined APIs, they can be linked together in various ways to create modern applications with independently scalable modules. A major advantage of this application architecture is that discrete components can be updated independently, which enables developers to efficiently deliver new features and fix issues with existing ones. The business value of this approach is clear; you can deliver new digital applications and services with greater speed and efficiency.

microservices architecture

How does Microservices Architecture work?

In a microservices architecture, an application is divided into services. Each service runs a unique process and usually manages its own database. A service can generate alerts, log data, support user interfaces (UIs), handle user identification or authentication, and perform various other tasks. The microservices paradigm provides development teams with a more decentralized approach to building software. Each service can be isolated, rebuilt, redeployed, and managed independently. For example, if a program isn’t properly generating reports, IT staff can trace the problem to a specific service and then test, restart, patch, and redeploy that service as needed, independent of other services.

Benefits of Microservices

  • Agility: Microservices foster an organization of small, independent teams that take ownership of their services. Teams act within a small and well-understood context and are empowered to work more independently and more quickly. This shortens development cycle times. You benefit significantly from the aggregate throughput of the organization.
  • Flexible Scaling: Microservices allow each service to be independently scaled to meet the demand for the application feature it supports. This enables teams to right-size infrastructure needs, accurately measure the cost of a feature, and maintain availability if a service experiences a spike in demand.
  • Easy Deployment: Microservices enable continuous integration and continuous delivery, making it easy to try out new ideas and roll back if something doesn’t work. The low cost of failure enables experimentation, makes it easier to update code, and accelerates time-to-market for new features.
  • Technological Freedom: Microservices architectures don’t follow a “one size fits all” approach. Teams have the freedom to choose the best tool to solve their specific problems. As a consequence, teams building microservices can choose the best tool for each job.
  • Reusable Code: Dividing software into small, well-defined modules enables teams to use functions for multiple purposes. A service written for a certain function can be used as a building block for another feature. This allows an application to bootstrap itself, as developers can create new capabilities without writing code from scratch.
  • Resilience: Service independence increases an application’s resistance to failure. In a monolithic architecture, if a single component fails, it can cause the entire application to fail. With microservices, applications handle total service failure by degrading functionality and not crashing the entire application.

The Risks of a Microservices Architecture

The danger that any new architectural trend poses is that they can be perceived as a silver bullet for IT’s problems, and are deployed as the “newest thing” without regard for prerequisites such as IT operating model, infrastructure, and developer skillsets.

A microservices architectural strategy should take a careful, measured approach to reap maximum benefit: we strongly recommend designing and building microservices that encapsulate capabilities for particular business domains with security in mind. The risk of not doing this is that you will end up building a monolithic suite of microservices due to developers acting independently. In other words, organizations could end up with a disparate sprawl of microservices with all of the downfalls of the monolith, the added complexity of distribution, and a reduction in the overall return on investment. Organizations looking to embrace microservices should expect development teams to coordinate efforts and adhere to clear-cut plans.

It’s also recommended that you establish the strict discipline of continuous delivery and have the necessary tooling for the automation of the release pipeline. A lack of DevOps-style team coordination and automation will mean that your microservices initiative will bring more pain than benefits.

microservices architecture

Microservices and cloud services

Microservices are not necessarily exclusively relevant to cloud computing but there are a few important reasons why they so frequently go together—reasons that go beyond microservices being a popular architectural style for new applications and the cloud being a popular hosting destination for new applications.

Among the primary benefits of a microservices architecture are the utilization and cost benefits associated with deploying and scaling components individually. While these benefits would still be present to some extent with on-premises infrastructure, the combination of small, independently scalable components coupled with on-demand, pay-per-use infrastructure is where real cost optimizations can be found.

Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, another primary benefit of microservices is that each individual component can adopt the stack best suited to its specific job. Stack proliferation can lead to serious complexity and overhead when you manage it yourself but consuming the supporting stack as cloud services can dramatically minimize management challenges. Put another way, while it’s not impossible to roll your own microservices infrastructure, it’s not advisable, especially when just starting out.

Conclusion

Microservice architecture helps you to build an efficient application in a short duration. There are some challenges you might face if microservice architecture is not being used. Now that you have read some of the challenges you would have faced if not implemented the application using a micro-service architecture. It’s efficient and effective to use microservice architecture while building an application.

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